The International Cricket Council (ICC), on behalf of its members, has released the men’s Future Tours Programme (FTP) from 2018-2023.

The FTP provides clarity and certainty around all bilateral international fixtures and incorporates all three formats of the game.

The result of a significant collective effort from the members, with the support of the ICC, the FTP focuses on bringing more context to bilateral cricket.

A World Test Championship has been created along with a 13-team men’s ODI League that will act as a qualification pathway for the ICC Cricket World Cup.

Nine top-ranked sides will participate in the inaugural edition of the World Test Championship, which will run from 15 July 2019 to 30 April 2021.

The sides will play six series in the two-year cycle on a 'home and away' basis against opponents they have mutually selected.

The two top-ranked sides will then progress to the June 2021 final to decide the World Test Champions.

In addition, the 12 Test playing nations plus the Netherlands, will participate in the 13-team ODI League which will run from 1 May 2020 to 31 March 2022.

All the sides will play eight series over a two-year cycle on a 'home and away' basis against mutually agreed opponents.

Australia’s opening series in the World Test Championship is against England over in England in July 2019, while their first ODI League Series is against Zimbabwe at home in June 2020.

This ODI League will serve as a qualification pathway for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023.

India (as the host) plus the seven highest-ranked sides in the ODI League as at 31 March 2022 will qualify directly for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023.

Meanwhile, the bottom five sides will get a second chance to qualify through the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier.

The principles followed by ICC national members in the creation of this men’s FTP are as follows:

- Scheduling the appropriate amount of cricket in each format (home and away) for each member country.

- Matches scheduled at the preferred time of year in each territory.

- Inclusion of existing series that have already been committed to commercial partners (mainly in 2019-20).

- Providing optimum preparation for ICC Events by playing the same format immediately before the tournament.

- Sufficient time for member countries to schedule their preferred bilateral content outside of the World Test Championship and the ODI League.

- Periods when individual Boards want to allow their national team players to be available to compete in domestic T20 leagues.

ICC Chief Executive David Richardson congratulated the members for their efforts in the preparation of the men’s Future Tours Programme:

“The agreement of this FTP means we have clarity, certainty and most importantly context around bilateral cricket over the next five years."

"The World Test Championship will get underway next year with the ODI League kicking off in 2020 as part of the qualification towards the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023.

“Bringing context to bilateral cricket is not a new challenge, but with the release of this FTP, our members have found a genuine solution that gives fans around the world the chance to engage regularly with international cricket that has meaning and the possibility of a global title at the end.”

Cricket Australia Chief Executive James Sutherland was happy to be involved in the process:

“It is with great enthusiasm that Cricket Australia endorses the new World Test Championship and the ODI League."

“We believe the new FTP will be a big step forward for international cricket with much improved structure and context for matches played in the Test and ODI formats.

“Together with other member countries, we are confident that this will grow interest in the international game - and our team is very much looking forward to launching the World Test Championship with our 2019 Ashes Series in England.”

As part of the agreed international cricket structure, the ICC Board has already approved an additional ICC World T20 in place of the ICC Champions Trophy, as well as giving Twenty20 International Status to all 104 members.

The structure of the men’s FTP (2018-23) includes:

- ICC Cricket World Cup: 2019 and 2023

- ICC World T20: 2020 and 2021

- World Test Championship

- Cycle 1: 2019-2021 (Final 2021)

- Cycle 2: 2021-2023 (Final 2023)

- All bilateral Tests, ODIs and T20Is outside the above competitions.

ABOUT THE ICC

The ICC is the global governing body for cricket. Representing 104 members, the ICC governs and administrates the game and is responsible for the staging of major international tournaments including the ICC World Cup and Women’s World Cup, ICC Champions Trophy and the ICC Men’s and Women’s World T20.

The ICC presides over the ICC Code of Conduct which sets the professional standards of discipline for international cricket, playing conditions, bowling reviews and other ICC regulations. The Laws of the game remain under the auspices of the MCC.

The ICC also appoints the umpires and referees that officiate at all sanctioned Test matches, One Day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals. Through the Anti-Corruption Unit it coordinates action against corruption and match fixing.